We would if we could but its not in the Budget… success stories in third-party funding for public library programs – Jack L Goodman Tutoring Australasia
Why public libraries need partnerships- maintaining relevance requires innovation, which needs resources – which means money. Public libraries have many users, tight budgets, have little state support and no commonwealth funding. But just in case……
Why are partnerships possible – Public libraries have a unique position in their communities where we leverage the corporate social responsibility trend. We can partner with businesses, education, not for profits, clubs and more.
Example – Fairfield City Library Service – first Your Tutor customer in 2003, begun with local club funding. Demand grew so it was incorporated into the Council budget into 2004. In 2007 they partnered with the UWS to broaden access beyond what the library could provide.
The UWS has a Community Engagement Strategy – which aims to build a relationship with councils and to support local students. Most universities have such a strategy. For Fairfield it meant expansion of the program, marketing support from UWS and deeper institutional ties with them.
Example – Mornington Peninsula – Babies love books too. MP saw a program in a similar area, partnered with the library, put in an application to the Telstra Foundation and got $20,000 over 3 years follow up funding from BHP and Hillview. Now its in the library budget.
Example – Connected City Library and Melbourne City Mission.
Targeted learning support for at risk of becoming homeless children.
Example – Mobile Library Wireless Broadband
Upper Murray Regional Library Service – 3 mobile libraries. Got funding from 2 State Libraries and the Federal Government.
These were the only publicly visible examples. Need more like them. Critical skills required to make this happen – a desire to innovate: there is risk, which isnt a welcome option – need to be creative; brainstorming, teams, ownership – commercial sensibility: leveraging the librarys assets, outlining who benefits and how.
Making it happen:
1. Choose an appropriate project
2. Assemble your team – identify an owner, provide support
3. Think strategically – what are your librarys strengths – your users, your facilities, your role, your relationships
4. Identify a short list of potential partners – including businesses, associations, clubs, sporting groups, universities
5. Prepare your pitch – background, your assets, clear description of the opportunity
6. Hold a launch event – give them public recognition, raise the library profile, generates interest in the project and good media coverage
7. Follow through – objective is a long term relationship, maintain communication channels, acquit regularly and thoroughly and share success stories.
Corporate social responsibility – growing trend which includes community engagement policies an establish deep and meaningful partnerships. Need to take advantage of this.
Think big – ask for more rather than less, dont be put off by initial responses, remember your strengths and the needs of your partners.